The Charlotte Hornets are firing head coach James Borrego, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Charlotte joins the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings in search of a new head coach.
The injury-plagued Hornets finished 148-183 under Borrego's watch and failed to make the playoffs in his four seasons. They twice reached the Eastern Conference play-in tournament and lost blowouts each time.
Borrego's 2018 hiring made history, as the Mexican American became the NBA's first-ever full-time head coach of Hispanic descent. The Hornets signed Borrego to a multiyear contract extension in August 2021.
Borrego oversaw a rebuild following the free-agent departure of All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker in 2019 and enjoyed a 10-win improvement each of the past two seasons. The 44-year-old former San Antonio Spurs assistant developed LaMelo Ball into an All-Star and Miles Bridges into a 20 points-per-game scorer.
The 2020 signing of Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract was supposed to signal a step into playoff contention, but the one-time All-Star has missed 61 games the past two seasons. Hayward's absence lowered the Hornets' ceiling, and he did not participate in either of their play-in tournament losses.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan and general manager Mitch Kupchak have done little to address the center position, beyond acquiring 2020 Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell's expiring contract at the trade deadline. They were rumored to be in pursuit of Jakob Poeltl and Myles Turner, among others, but instead stuck with Mason Plumlee, who submitted the least efficient season of any starting center in the NBA.
Prior to this season, the Hornets traded Devonte' Graham, waived Caleb Martin and did not extend a qualifying offer to Malik Monk. All three made meaningful contributions elsewhere in the NBA this season.
Unsurprisingly, Kupchak's job may not be secure, either, per Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. That Borrego is the first to go comes as a surprise, given his work with a suboptimal roster headlined by a 20-year-old.
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